Digital life outside of school

The teachers in this clip, from both primary and secondary schools, discuss how students are using technology – for what purposes – as well as the most popular apps and social media students are engaging in and the length of time students are using technology outside of school.

  • Is the length of time students are engaging with technology an issue?
  • Is student engagement with technology outside of school the responsibility of the school, especially when it comes to matters of appropriate use, privacy and length of use?
  • How might schools work with parents and students to make links between home and school digital usage?
  • In what ways, if any, does your school have conversations with students about how they use technology outside of the classroom?
  • How might knowledge of student usage of technology be useful for teachers and the curriculum?
  • In what ways can schools address issues of access to technology and social media? Is this access essential?

Learning what is educational

In this clip the primary school teachers discuss whether students perceive technology as either a tool for education or a distraction. They discuss whether students use of digital technology is an issue or whether the issue is with the way the technology is being used.

  • Is technology a distraction or symptomatic of something else?
  • Where does the school’s responsibility start and end? How does this compare to the responsibility of parents?
  • What is meant by the term ‘educational’? How do we define educational use in terms of students’ use of digital technologies at home?

Legal implications and boundaries

This discussion mostly focuses on the results of the surveys conducted by the secondary school teachers. The results raised questions as to whether students understood the terminology used in the survey but also how honest the students were in their responses. Both the primary and secondary school teachers discuss issues around student access to technology and whose responsibility is it to govern how technology may be used outside of school hours.

  • What are some behaviours that students might identify as ‘negative’ especially in an online environment?
  • Is it actually an issue that students are engaging with digital technology for long periods of time, for purposes other than education? Why?
  • What are some ways schools and parents can work together to both monitor and inform students about appropriate digital technology use?
  • What are some behaviours or technology use that we see as ‘appropriate’? Why?

Scaling across the school

One of the main concerns of any project is ‘where to from here’. In this clip both the secondary and primary school teachers discuss their approaches to broadening this project to include other parts of the school, especially through using the key findings to inform future policies and practices. All teachers agreed that the support of leadership in the school is instrumental for further development of curriculum that bridges the difference between students’ out of school and in school digital use.

  • How might the findings of this research project inform the policies and practices at your school?
  • What makes an ‘effective’ BYOD (bring your own device) program? And how might schools continually assess the program effectiveness?
  • What are some of the challenges that face schools in implementing new technology practices? How might some of these challenges be navigated?
  • How might students play a part in developing effective technology programs and implementing these across the school?

Surprising findings

While some of the survey results did not surprise the participating teachers, there were some that did come as a surprise. In this clip both secondary and primary school teachers discuss some of the survey results that surprised them and why some of the student responses were surprising.

  • What did you find surprising about the survey results? How was this different to what you expected?
  • The teachers were surprised by the lack of student use of technology to ‘create’. What do we mean by using technology to ‘create’? And how do we encourage students to ‘create’ more or in different ways? Is this in fact necessary?
  • How many of your students are concerned with their online identity and community? Is this an issue? How might we use their participation in these communities in the classroom?
  • How do we address issues of equity issues of access to technology?

Working with parents

A constant theme in the discussion was the ways in which schools work with parents around their students’ digital technology use and where the school responsibility ends and the parents’ responsibility begins. The teachers in this clip reflect on the ways in which they both have worked with parents in the past and the ways they might improve this relationship in the future.

  • Are the ways students are engaging in digital technology actually an issue?
  • What are some ways your school has worked with parents around digital technology use? Was it effective?
  • How might schools address issues around the perception of technology use in the classroom?
  • How might schools develop a partnership between teachers, parents and students to support digital technology use both at home and at school?

Unsurprising findings

In the following clip the teachers from two different primary schools discuss how they were not surprised by some of the results of their surveys. This was especially the case when discussing the difference between how students in the lower years of primary school engage with technology, compared to the upper year levels. The teachers also discuss the types of media students are engaging with, as well as the type of other outside of school activities students participate in.

  • How do you think your students engage with technology outside of the classroom?
  • Did any of the results of the surveys surprise you?
  • What similarities can you see between the students discussed in the video and the students in your classroom or school?
  • Do you think the increase in student use of technology is an issue?
  • How might you begin to use some of these results to inform your own teaching or curriculum development?

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